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Author Topic: Never-built highways of the Northwest  (Read 10999 times)

sparker

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Re: Never-built highways of the Northwest
« Reply #75 on: April 14, 2021, 05:37:50 AM »

Of course not everyone can drive, but everyone should aspire to drive. I spent my time riding public transit when I had no other choice, it was a good motivation to do something else in life so I did not have to do that crap anymore. Philadelphia's transit system rivals that of Portland, as does DC, but no matter how many trains and buses you put there you will never fix the fundamental issues with public transit, which include some amount of foot travel in adverse conditions, dealing with other riders, and transporting goods and luggage, all of which are solved with a car.

But driving is an aspiration because of how expensive it is. It should be no wonder that cities like to invest in public transit, as it is an accessible mode of transportation for people of all backgrounds, abilities, and income. Not everyone can drive, but everyone can take the bus.
Of course not everyone can drive, but everyone should aspire to drive. I spent my time riding public transit when I had no other choice, it was a good motivation to do something else in life so I did not have to do that crap anymore. Philadelphia's transit system rivals that of Portland, as does DC, but no matter how many trains and buses you put there you will never fix the fundamental issues with public transit, which include some amount of foot travel in adverse conditions, dealing with other riders, and transporting goods and luggage, all of which are solved with a car.

But driving is an aspiration because of how expensive it is. It should be no wonder that cities like to invest in public transit, as it is an accessible mode of transportation for people of all backgrounds, abilities, and income. Not everyone can drive, but everyone can take the bus.

All well and good, provided the bus network goes where you need it to (see reply #71 above) rather than where planners think you should be going.  And it's not just Portland; San Jose's LR was structured around local planners' concepts of downtown housing serving, via the LR network, employment centers in outflung areas of town.   Unfortunately, back in the '80's during the planning process, the likelihood of hyper-gentrification of that same downtown area drove housing prices up, especially the densely-placed condominium/townhouse developments near downtown; leaving most of the lower-income residents who would most benefit from LR lines largely distant from the system branches.   By trying to cater to a particular user profile (tech employees), VTA (transit provider) missed the opportunity to deploy their system where it would be most useful.   
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Re: Never-built highways of the Northwest
« Reply #76 on: April 14, 2021, 11:28:18 AM »

All well and good, provided the bus network goes where you need it to (see reply #71 above) rather than where planners think you should be going.  And it's not just Portland; San Jose's LR was structured around local planners' concepts of downtown housing serving, via the LR network, employment centers in outflung areas of town.   Unfortunately, back in the '80's during the planning process, the likelihood of hyper-gentrification of that same downtown area drove housing prices up, especially the densely-placed condominium/townhouse developments near downtown; leaving most of the lower-income residents who would most benefit from LR lines largely distant from the system branches.   By trying to cater to a particular user profile (tech employees), VTA (transit provider) missed the opportunity to deploy their system where it would be most useful.   

Absolutely a legitimate problem. And without the local metropolitan planning committee stepping in to say "at least x-number of these units must be 'affordable'", you end up with a line serving high-income people who probably only use the line occasionally. As opposed to bus lines through lower income areas, where ridership is likely quite consistent, and the only real issue is either a long walk to the bus stop, or frequency. At the very least, robust bus-to-rail transfers should be in place (assuming affordable or free transfers!), assuming we can't just go and build dozens of metro lines simultaneously, enough to throw off land speculators.

Anyways, I think we might be a wee off topic.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2021, 11:30:23 AM by jakeroot »
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HighwayStar

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Re: Never-built highways of the Northwest
« Reply #77 on: April 14, 2021, 06:45:24 PM »

Of course not everyone can drive, but everyone should aspire to drive. I spent my time riding public transit when I had no other choice, it was a good motivation to do something else in life so I did not have to do that crap anymore. Philadelphia's transit system rivals that of Portland, as does DC, but no matter how many trains and buses you put there you will never fix the fundamental issues with public transit, which include some amount of foot travel in adverse conditions, dealing with other riders, and transporting goods and luggage, all of which are solved with a car.

But driving is an aspiration because of how expensive it is. It should be no wonder that cities like to invest in public transit, as it is an accessible mode of transportation for people of all backgrounds, abilities, and income. Not everyone can drive, but everyone can take the bus.
Of course not everyone can drive, but everyone should aspire to drive. I spent my time riding public transit when I had no other choice, it was a good motivation to do something else in life so I did not have to do that crap anymore. Philadelphia's transit system rivals that of Portland, as does DC, but no matter how many trains and buses you put there you will never fix the fundamental issues with public transit, which include some amount of foot travel in adverse conditions, dealing with other riders, and transporting goods and luggage, all of which are solved with a car.

But driving is an aspiration because of how expensive it is. It should be no wonder that cities like to invest in public transit, as it is an accessible mode of transportation for people of all backgrounds, abilities, and income. Not everyone can drive, but everyone can take the bus.

All well and good, provided the bus network goes where you need it to (see reply #71 above) rather than where planners think you should be going.  And it's not just Portland; San Jose's LR was structured around local planners' concepts of downtown housing serving, via the LR network, employment centers in outflung areas of town.   Unfortunately, back in the '80's during the planning process, the likelihood of hyper-gentrification of that same downtown area drove housing prices up, especially the densely-placed condominium/townhouse developments near downtown; leaving most of the lower-income residents who would most benefit from LR lines largely distant from the system branches.   By trying to cater to a particular user profile (tech employees), VTA (transit provider) missed the opportunity to deploy their system where it would be most useful.   

The US is not a 3rd world country, we should be able to make driving accessible for every working American man.
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Re: Never-built highways of the Northwest
« Reply #78 on: April 14, 2021, 06:48:48 PM »

The US is not a 3rd world country, we should be able to make driving accessible for every working American man.

Only about 64% (slightly lower during COVID) of American adults are in the labor force (I'm not one of them, since I'm a college student), and only half of them are male.
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Bruce

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Re: Never-built highways of the Northwest
« Reply #79 on: April 14, 2021, 07:04:34 PM »

Can we not derail this thread with anti-transit zealots from outside the Northwest?

Back on topic: a few proposed routings for the "third" Lake Washington floating bridge that quietly died in the 1970s:



(By this time, the options still included twinning the Evergreen Point Bridge, which would've made the modern replacement extremely difficult)

HighwayStar

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Re: Never-built highways of the Northwest
« Reply #80 on: April 14, 2021, 07:42:15 PM »

The US is not a 3rd world country, we should be able to make driving accessible for every working American man.

Only about 64% (slightly lower during COVID) of American adults are in the labor force (I'm not one of them, since I'm a college student), and only half of them are male.

Children can't drive cars, old people are retired, so they worked and should be able to drive (at least while they are still with it, sometimes grandma does need the keys taken away). So that should be much more than 64%. And many people were recently working so would be included to. I was a college student too once, I also worked thus I drove.
The point of the above, for those of us that don't read strings as literally as Python does, is that driving should be accessible to working Americans, ie. everyone but those who are work shy.

To paraphrase an older saying, A bucket of fried chicken on every table and two cars in every garage!
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Re: Never-built highways of the Northwest
« Reply #81 on: April 14, 2021, 07:43:35 PM »

One of the interesting things about that map is 30th [Ave.] NE.  That's not a major street now, 25th Ave. and 35th Ave. NE are the major streets.  I wonder if the city was thinking about making 30th a major arterial back then.
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Re: Never-built highways of the Northwest
« Reply #82 on: April 14, 2021, 07:52:53 PM »

Is the dashed line labeled with ‘Thomson’ on that above map a cancelled freeway too?
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kkt

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Re: Never-built highways of the Northwest
« Reply #83 on: April 14, 2021, 07:58:59 PM »

Is the dashed line labeled with ‘Thomson’ on that above map a cancelled freeway too?

Yes, that's the Thomson Expressway which was never built.  Some stub ramps from its proposed interchange with WA 520 remained until the 520 bridge was rebuilt over the last few years.  I have trouble imagining how the Thomson Expressway could have been built - densely built and very expensive residential real estate, even back then, north of NE 45th St. and south of 520.
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Re: Never-built highways of the Northwest
« Reply #84 on: April 14, 2021, 08:09:03 PM »

One of the interesting things about that map is 30th [Ave.] NE.  That's not a major street now, 25th Ave. and 35th Ave. NE are the major streets.  I wonder if the city was thinking about making 30th a major arterial back then.


I think the map (from The Seattle Times) mislabeled 35th Avenue as 30th. It lines up more with 35th based on where it intersects SR 513 and where the Thomson Expressway would have gone.

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Re: Never-built highways of the Northwest
« Reply #85 on: April 14, 2021, 08:10:59 PM »

Cuck fars.
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Re: Never-built highways of the Northwest
« Reply #86 on: April 14, 2021, 08:51:07 PM »

Is the dashed line labeled with ‘Thomson’ on that above map a cancelled freeway too?

Yes, that's the Thomson Expressway which was never built.  Some stub ramps from its proposed interchange with WA 520 remained until the 520 bridge was rebuilt over the last few years.  I have trouble imagining how the Thomson Expressway could have been built - densely built and very expensive residential real estate, even back then, north of NE 45th St. and south of 520.


Yeah -- I can't imagine UW or the community based there being silent about a freeway bisecting its neighborhood -- that alone would probably have doomed any prospective area corridor.
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Re: Never-built highways of the Northwest
« Reply #87 on: April 14, 2021, 09:26:10 PM »

Is the dashed line labeled with ‘Thomson’ on that above map a cancelled freeway too?

Yes, that's the Thomson Expressway which was never built.  Some stub ramps from its proposed interchange with WA 520 remained until the 520 bridge was rebuilt over the last few years.  I have trouble imagining how the Thomson Expressway could have been built - densely built and very expensive residential real estate, even back then, north of NE 45th St. and south of 520.


Yeah -- I can't imagine UW or the community based there being silent about a freeway bisecting its neighborhood -- that alone would probably have doomed any prospective area corridor.

At the time, the flats along Union Bay were used as a landfill. A good chunk of the stronger opposition came from the Montlake area, who wanted to preserve the arboretum, and a coalition from the Central District who wanted to save their neighborhood.

I'm in the middle of researching the Thomson Expressway for a project on Wikipedia, but I'll have to check and see if UW supported the project.

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Re: Never-built highways of the Northwest
« Reply #88 on: April 14, 2021, 10:28:53 PM »

That curved crossing from Sand Point to Kirkland looks to have been needlessly costly. Were there bathymetry considerations for that proposal?
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Bruce

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Re: Never-built highways of the Northwest
« Reply #89 on: April 15, 2021, 02:27:23 AM »

That curved crossing from Sand Point to Kirkland looks to have been needlessly costly. Were there bathymetry considerations for that proposal?

I'll have to check, but the WSDOT Library does have two documents with tons of proposals: Second Lake Washington Bridge Proposals from 1957 and a Legislative Reconnaissance from 1958.

The second document shows that it was supposed to be a floating tunnel ("Corridor E"), which would explain the curves. It also has this map that includes the first iteration of I-605, the Thomson Expressway, and the Bothell Freeway (replacing SR 522):

« Last Edit: April 15, 2021, 02:35:25 AM by Bruce »
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Re: Never-built highways of the Northwest
« Reply #90 on: April 15, 2021, 02:43:21 AM »

Another fun one: a bridge to replace the Mukilteo-Clinton ferry, as studied in 1968 (and found to be infeasible even with tolling).

The most "feasible" route would go over Hat Island to Everett in order to avoid a 620-foot depth and instead only need to deal with a 500-foot drop. All at a cost of $160 million in 1968 dollars.

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Re: Never-built highways of the Northwest
« Reply #91 on: April 15, 2021, 04:34:30 AM »

Another fun one: a bridge to replace the Mukilteo-Clinton ferry, as studied in 1968 (and found to be infeasible even with tolling).

The most "feasible" route would go over Hat Island to Everett in order to avoid a 620-foot depth and instead only need to deal with a 500-foot drop. All at a cost of $160 million in 1968 dollars.



Since the Hat Island alternative crossed two channels, it would be likely that the portion over the deep/navigable channel would likely have included a suspension span across the depths (likely as lengthy as the Golden Gate or Verrazano ones to clear the 500'+ deep channel); the other longer bridge to the east could have been done as a simple viaduct with one raised section to clear the deeper portion for navigability purposes.  Nevertheless, it's better that no bridge was built; Whidbey certainly doesn't need any more casual traffic -- and the idea of a bridge today wouldn't likely get out of the starting blocks -- although the shorter high-clearance bridge might have been done today with a cable-stay span, a type that didn't see favor until around 1980.   But since the east end of the bridge would have been in Everett, there's a chance that it may have been considered to be a US 2 extension that would utilize the Port Townsend ferry to get to a US 101 terminus. 
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Re: Never-built highways of the Northwest
« Reply #92 on: April 15, 2021, 05:38:03 PM »

Another fun one: a bridge to replace the Mukilteo-Clinton ferry, as studied in 1968 (and found to be infeasible even with tolling).

The most "feasible" route would go over Hat Island to Everett in order to avoid a 620-foot depth and instead only need to deal with a 500-foot drop. All at a cost of $160 million in 1968 dollars.



Since the Hat Island alternative crossed two channels, it would be likely that the portion over the deep/navigable channel would likely have included a suspension span across the depths (likely as lengthy as the Golden Gate or Verrazano ones to clear the 500'+ deep channel); the other longer bridge to the east could have been done as a simple viaduct with one raised section to clear the deeper portion for navigability purposes.  Nevertheless, it's better that no bridge was built; Whidbey certainly doesn't need any more casual traffic -- and the idea of a bridge today wouldn't likely get out of the starting blocks -- although the shorter high-clearance bridge might have been done today with a cable-stay span, a type that didn't see favor until around 1980.   But since the east end of the bridge would have been in Everett, there's a chance that it may have been considered to be a US 2 extension that would utilize the Port Townsend ferry to get to a US 101 terminus.

I would hardly say it is "better" that no bridge was built, it would provide a vastly superior routing to what is currently available. Building it today would have course fall prey to the usual problems with NIMBYs, special interest groups, activists, etc.
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Re: Never-built highways of the Northwest
« Reply #93 on: April 15, 2021, 05:48:12 PM »

I would hardly say it is "better" that no bridge was built, it would provide a vastly superior routing to what is currently available. Building it today would have course fall prey to the usual problems with NIMBYs, special interest groups, activists, etc.
Seems like being able to drive directly from Whidbey southeast to the mainland without a ferry is a special interest.
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Re: Never-built highways of the Northwest
« Reply #94 on: April 15, 2021, 05:54:25 PM »

I would hardly say it is "better" that no bridge was built, it would provide a vastly superior routing to what is currently available. Building it today would have course fall prey to the usual problems with NIMBYs, special interest groups, activists, etc.
Seems like being able to drive directly from Whidbey southeast to the mainland without a ferry is a special interest.

Hardly, special interests are groups that seek to exercise undue influence over projects for the public good. Wanting adequate infrastructure to get around is very mainstream.
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Re: Never-built highways of the Northwest
« Reply #95 on: April 15, 2021, 06:01:41 PM »

Another fun one: a bridge to replace the Mukilteo-Clinton ferry, as studied in 1968 (and found to be infeasible even with tolling).

The most "feasible" route would go over Hat Island to Everett in order to avoid a 620-foot depth and instead only need to deal with a 500-foot drop. All at a cost of $160 million in 1968 dollars.
There are now bridges with main spans over 1 mile, as opposed to 50 years ago. More feasible.

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Re: Never-built highways of the Northwest
« Reply #96 on: April 15, 2021, 06:09:50 PM »

I would hardly say it is "better" that no bridge was built, it would provide a vastly superior routing to what is currently available. Building it today would have course fall prey to the usual problems with NIMBYs, special interest groups, activists, etc.
Seems like being able to drive directly from Whidbey southeast to the mainland without a ferry is a special interest.

Hardly, special interests are groups that seek to exercise undue influence over projects for the public good. Wanting adequate infrastructure to get around is very mainstream.

Are you implying that ferries are, by comparison, inadequate? Perhaps to move two identical versions of Seattle between each other, but not Whidbey/Vashon/Bainbridge to the mainland. Those municipalities specifically did not want bridges because high capacity roads would have adversely affected land use. Instead of the quaint, recreation/tourism-focused islands we have now, they could have easily become suburban landscapes like the Eastside or South Hill. And that would have been fine -- we wouldn't have known any better -- but the Seattle metro area does not need those islands for housing at this point.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2021, 06:46:13 PM by jakeroot »
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Re: Never-built highways of the Northwest
« Reply #97 on: April 15, 2021, 07:13:58 PM »

Right, influence should be exerted by the Chamber of Commerce types and the Mayor playing golf with the Department of Highways officials and making sure the new freeway doesn't plow through any of their neighborhoods.  That way the public interest is served. 
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Re: Never-built highways of the Northwest
« Reply #98 on: April 15, 2021, 07:39:28 PM »

Right, influence should be exerted by the Chamber of Commerce types and the Mayor playing golf with the Department of Highways officials and making sure the new freeway doesn't plow through any of their neighborhoods.  That way the public interest is served.

Did you read my comment? I hate ALL forms of NIMBYism including the golfing with the mayor kind. Let the military, the engineers, and the economists plan the highways and leave the politicians, activists, protesters, NIMBYs and the like out of the process.
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Re: Never-built highways of the Northwest
« Reply #99 on: April 15, 2021, 08:24:01 PM »

To bring this back on the focus of specific never-built highways in the Northwest, here's an interesting map I came across while researching the history of the Sunset Highway. It's from from The Oregonian on January 25, 1931, and it shows various proposed alignments of the "short road to the sea" from Portland:



In order of preference, the engineers recommended:

  • Ridge Route
  • Wilson River Route
  • Vernonia-Hamlet Route
  • Trask River Route
  • Vernonia-Saddle Mountain Route
  • Salmonberry Route

I don't know the full story yet, but eventually the Ridge Route was moved northward and built along the present-day Sunset Highway between 1932 and 1948. Most of the Wilson River Route was built as OR-6 around that same time. This map I mocked up shows the proposed routings above next to what was actually built, with US-26/Sunset Highway in red and OR-6/Wilson River Highway in green:

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